Parrotfish Family
Parrotfish [Genus Scarus of family Scaridae]

Parrotfish are a fairly large family of at least 10 genera, found in reef environments in the Indo-Pacific region and also the Caribbean region. They are of critical importance to the reef environment, because they clean the coral of algae and sponges on both the sea side and the land side. Only a few species are fished commercially.

Identification of parrotfish species is very difficult. They change face and tail shape with maturity, and change from dull colored female to bright colored male at a particular length. Their colors and patterns seem to be whatever the individual fish wants. For instance, the Red Parrotfish is seen in all bright red, but also in all blue. Patterns a fish is named for may not be seen in all individuals. My identifications below are the best I could do, and I think they are pretty good, but don't depend on them absoltely. Fortunately, it makes little difference as far as eating them is concerned.

More on Varieties of Fish (very large page).


Forsten's Parrotfish   -   [Mol-mol, Mul-mul (Philippines); Scarus forsteni]
Parrotfish

This fish is native to the Western Pacific, around the Philippines, Indonesia, northern Australia, and as far east as the Pitcairn Island group. It can grow to almost 22 inches and 5-1/2 pounds, but the photo specimen was 12-3/4 inches long and weighed 1.1 pounds. It is fished commercially in the region, and is IUCN Red Listed LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Blue-barred Parrotfish - [Mol-mol, Mul-mu, Loro, Luro (Philippines); Scarus ghobban]
Parrotfish

The name "Blue-barred" is a bit deceptive, because only very young fish have the three blue bars. This fish ranges throughout the Red Sea and Indian Ocean, down to South Africa, and also in the Pacific as far north as southern Japan, all through Indonesia and as far east as the Gulf of California, and down to Ecuador. It can grow to almost 36 inches, but the photo specimen was 18-1/4 inches long and weighed 3.33 pounds. This Parrotfish is fished commercially in various regions, and is IUCN Red Listed LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Singapore Parrotfish - [Scarus prasiognathos ]
Whole Singapore Parrotfish

These Indo-West Pacific fish are found in reef environments, mainly in the West Pacific, but some are found as far west as the Maldives. They are not usually all blue like the photo specimen. They range as far north as the Ryukyu Islands, as far south as the northern tip of Australia, and all through Indonesia and around Papua New Guinea. They can grow to almost 28 inches, but the photo specimen was 14-1/8 inches long and weighed 1 pound 13-3/8 ounces. This Parrotfish is fished commercially, and is IUCN Red Listed LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Ember Parrotfish - [Scarus rubroviolaceus]
Whole Ember Parrotfish 15e

These Indo-Pacific fish have a very wide range, found in reef and rocky environments from Durban, South Africa to the Ryukyu islands of Japan, the Hawaiian Islands, the Gulf of California and the Galapagos Islands. They range as far south as the northern coast of Australia. They can grow to almost 28 inches, but the photo specimen was 20-1/4 inches long and weighed 2 pounds 15-3/4 ounces. They change from female to male at 14-3/4 inches long and develop a bulbous nose and often a deeply lunate tail. Color schemes and patterns can vary radically. This Parrotfish is fished commercially, and is IUCN Red Listed LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

Rivulated Parrotfish   -   [Scarus rivulatus]
Whole Rivulated Parrotfish 20e

These West-Pacific fish are found in reef environments from Thailand to New Caledonia and Tonga, north to the Ryukyu Islands, Japan, and south to New South Wales, Australia. These fish can grow to about 18 inches (TL), but the photo specimen was 13-5/8 inches long and weighed 1 pound 8-1/4 ounces. Color schemes and patterns can vary radically. Young female fish are gray, but when they get larger and turn male they get a color scheme something like in the photo. The other fish packaged with this one was nearly black. This Parrotfish is fished commercially, and is IUCN Red Listed LC (Least Concern).   Details and Cooking.

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